When I last visited Shepherds Bush, it was for a Jason Mraz concert at the famous Shepherds Bush Empire. Some of music’s best and most famous names have played here before, the likes of David Bowie, Elton John, Kylie Minogue, just to name a few.
I love going to gigs in London. And there are absolutely no shortage of them during each and every week in this huge metropolis of a city. Seeing a gig takes a lot of planning before hand, where to eat, for example, is definitely one of them.
Unfortunately, at the time of Jason’s stardom, there was a shortage of dining out options available in the area. So I unhappily resorted to a grab and go deli sandwich to fulfil my basic hunger needs.
Shepherds Bush had evolved and matured since then with newly opened bars and restaurants in the area. I recently visited Pictures Restaurant based in the Hong Kong-owned 4-star hotel chain, Dorsett London. It is conveniently based just a snip and tuck away next to the Shepherd Bush Empire. How convenient!
We started our evening with a his and hers cocktail at the Jin bar. An atrium of golden radiator-grill soaring high above us, topped with a high-glass ceiling and formed a dramatic backdrop. I couldn’t help but appreciate the magnificent architecture as I sank into the comfy neon coloured love seats to put a long week behind me. This was definitely welcoming the weekend in style!
I tried the aptly named Shakespeare in Love (Archers peach, Pimms, strawberry puree, Prosecco), while Mr. New Yorker opted for the Montecristo Daiquiri, which combined vanilla syrup, lime juice and cigar-infused white rum in a slick elixir topped with a “masculine” flower garnish. I think we should have swapped drinks, don’t you think? 😉
We moved on to Pictures restaurant where we were welcomed with friendly and enthusiastic staff who patiently explained what was on the menu. From what we understand, the restaurant originally featured Asian inspired dishes but have since changed to Western/mainly British fare to streamline the kitchen offerings.
For starters, the crispy calamari was the star of the show, if not for the entire meal. Don’t let the simplicity of the name fool you, my friends. Mysteriously covered in a dark savoury green herby concoction (with fragrant coriander as the main ingredient), it had a crunchy light batter and piqued my tastebuds in a way to make me swoon. According to the staff, the list of ingredients for this dark earthy green sauce is 15 names long, something that the Head Chef Anthony learned from his days of cooking Asian fusion cuisine at Asia de Cuba.
Mr. New Yorker had the potted duck salad before his main dish, where confit duck was presented in a tiny mason jar, to be smeared all over the toasted ciabatta alongside with a tart grape and apple chutney. If salad was your thing, the other standout veggie option would be the quinoa salad served with pomegranate, spring onion, feta cheese, and baby red chard in a vinaigrette dressing.
My Babary duck breast main dish arrived looking too pretty to eat. Sitting neatly stacked on top of a generous layer of red cabbage and sweet plum sauce, it was a tender and succulent piece of breast fillet. A little bit more seasoning to lift the flavours from the sweetness of the plum sauce would have seen it to perfection.
Meat was clearly on the agenda for Mr. New Yorker (protein fix) as his 21 days aged 6oz Scotch fillet arrived in all of its glory at the table, presented with a side of skinny fries, portobello mushrooms, and peppercorn sauce. Charred on the outside with a nice red medium rare inside, it left nothing to pick on about this piece of juicy meat. I urge you to accompany your order with the skinny fries on the side as this was a crunchier take of the sort of fries you get at a French steak and frites joint.
For my sweet tooth at the end, we were able to try something off menu as the chef whipped up his chocolate orange brownie served with a mint chocolate chip ice-cream. It was like biting into a Terry’s Orange with the orange aroma radiating through the moist chocolate brownie. Mr.New Yorker was tempted by the sound of vanilla creme brûlée cheesecake (isn’t that just two of my favourite things combined into one)! Indeed, in reality it was a caramelised soft cheesecake with a biscuity base, not a bad attempt at all.
Compliments to the Head Chef Anthony!
So next time you are in Shepherds Bush for some shopping or a gig, Pictures would be a great choice if you are feeling like some well executed comfort food with fantastic service.
Dorsett Hotel London
58 Shepherd’s Bush Green
London W12 8QE
Disclosure: New York Meets London was invited for a complimentary evening at Pictures Restaurant and Jin Bar. But as always, I keep it real and opinions are my own.